HEAT VISION

Edgar Wright Explains Alternate Ending to 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World'

The filmmaker and his cast shared secrets from the film ahead of its 10th anniversary.
'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World'   |   Universal Pictures/Photofest
The filmmaker and his cast shared secrets from the film ahead of its 10th anniversary.

Collect your tokens and get ready for the next level of director commentaries. Last night, director Edgar Wright took part in a Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) watch party hosted by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, celebrating the film's upcoming 10th anniversary and 4K re-release. Wright was joined by castmembers Aubrey Plaza, Brandon Routh, Mark Webber and Ellen Wong, as well as screenwriter Michael Bacall, and Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley. Together they shared behind the scenes photos, videos and stories from the contemporary cult classic.

Here are the best bits from Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World commentary:

A Band Apart

The opening scene of film also happened to be the first day on set, something that Wright admitted rarely happens in filmmaking. The main title sequence that follows wasn’t originally part of the film, and was added later after a suggestion by Quentin Tarantino to “let people fucking settle in.”

Ninja Stuff

The Ninja Ninja game that Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) and Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) play at the arcade, which later influences their final fight against Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman), was animated by Tim Miller, who would go on to direct Deadpool (2016).

Storyboarding

Wright said that the film was extensively storyboarded. O’Malley's art from the graphic novel was used as much as possible, but additional storyboards were drawn in O'Malley's style by the director's brother, Oscar Wright. The storyboards below depict Scott's fight against the first evil ex, Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha).

Up All Night

Grammy-winner Beck wrote 32 Sex Bob-Omb songs in 32 hours, says Wright. Only a few of them are heard in the final film. The song "Black Sheep," sung by Envy Adams’ band Clash at the Demonhead, was written by Metric for their 2009 album Fantasies, but it didn't make the cut.

Let’s Hear It for Captain America

Wright shared several mock posters from Lucas Lee's (Chris Evans) filmography. Notably, Evans' appearance in the film as Romana's second evil ex was a year before he'd make his debut as Captain America.

Don't Blink

And speaking of Marvel's Captains, then-19-year-old Brie Larson played Scott's ex, Envy Adams. Wright revealed that he made Larson perform all of her scenes without blinking in order to heighten the "anime" quality of the character. He said this earned him the on-set nickname "The Blink Nazi."

Set Design

The film was actually shot in Toronto, where it's set. Wright incorporated as many local Toronto locations as he could while filming, though some places, like Wallace (Kieran Culkin) and Scott's apartment and the Chaos Theater, were built on a soundstage.

KO

Many of the actors performed their own stunts. Wright shared a video of Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona performing the backflip during her fight against Roxy (Mae Whitman). He also revealed that Cera took the sword fighting at the end of the film very seriously, though there was a double in some scenes. The double actually knocked one of the stunt performer's teeth out, forcing the cast and crew to search for it on the club floor littered with quarters from the climax.

Extra Extra

Wright said that it was difficult to explain what he was visualizing to the extras who were present for the battle of bands when Scott battles exes five and six, Kyle (Shôta Saitô) and Ken Katayanagi (Keita Saitô). He shared some concept art for the visual effects he attempted to explain to the extras.

G-Man's Gum

In the scene where Gideon Graves swallows his gum, Swartzman insisted on swallowing real chewing gum for every take. Wright said he must have swallowed about 10 pieces, and as a wrap present he gave the actor a colonic.

Ending Note

In the film’s original ending Scott stayed in a relationship with Knives, leaving Romana to go off and find herself on her own. This ending split test audiences down the middle, so Wright and Bacall had O'Malley help them write a new ending, which ultimately ended up being closer to the ending of the graphic novel series. Wright was worried that Wong might be disappointed by the ending, so he called her before the release to discuss it and she loved it.

Wright also said Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was to return to cinemas in August for its 10th anniversary, but the COVID-19 pandemic upended those plans. A new date will be forthcoming, though.

  • Richard Newby
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